What is a food business ?

What is a food business ?

A food business is any undertaking, whether carried out for profit or not, and whether public or private, involved in any of the following:

  • preparation of food
  • processing of food
  • manufacture of food
  • packaging of food
  • storage of food
  • transportation/distribution of food
  • handling of food
  • offering food for sale

A food business may be a retail shop selling sweets and confectionary, a bakery, a butchers, a cafe or restaurant, fast food premises, a pub, a micro brewery or pub, a cake maker and a home caterer. Please note: The definition of food includes drink and beverages.

Approved premises

If you are a business producing and/or supplying products of animal origin (Dairy Products, Egg Products, Fish Products, Meat Products, Minced Meat and Meat Preparation, Shellfish Purification and/or Egg Packing) to other food businesses, you may be required to apply for approval to use your establishment for that purpose. Apply online for a licence or fill in the Approval of a food business form here.


Products of animal origin include meat products, fishery products, minced meat, meat preparations etc.

  • If you cook meat pies in your premises and only sell them to members of the public you will not require approval
  • If you cook meat pies and only sell them to other businesses such as restaurants, shops etc, then you would require approval
  • If you cook meat pies and supply members of the public and food businesses, you may require approval. If approval is required, you will have to adhere to additional requirements with regard to structure, layout, health marking etc.

This is a complicated area of food law and each case needs to be looked at individually. Please contact us to discuss your operation if you think approval may be required.


 Useful links

Food Standards Agency - Food Hygiene Ratings 

Food Standards Agency - E. COLI O157: Control Of Cross-Contamination